LANE COUNTY — Food waste represents the single largest component of municipal solid waste reaching American landfills and incinerators. According to a statewide food waste study performed by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in 2019, Oregon households throw away 6.3 pounds wasted food per household per week. Of the food waste that Oregonians threw away, 71 percent could have been eaten by humans.
This is not only a waste of all that turkey, pie and mashed potatoes, but also a waste of all the resources that went into growing, processing, shipping, cooling and cooking that food. This holiday season consider these tips to help reduce food waste at home.
With so many guests and so many items to serve, sometimes it's difficult to determine how much food you should prepare for your holiday feast. Whole Foods Market has developed a handy calculator to help ensure you offer plenty of food without being left with too much. Visit http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/holidays/servings-calculator to view the Whole Foods Market Holiday Entertaining Servings Calculator.
Before you begin cooking, make room in your freezer. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), cooked turkey lasts four months in the freezer – plenty of time to use up your leftovers without eating turkey for every meal.
Take the work out of eating leftovers by storing a little of everything in several meal-sized containers. Then when you want a quick meal, grab one of the containers from the refrigerator or freezer and heat it up.
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After gorging yourself on a holiday meal, you and your family may want a little time away from the leftovers. Try spicing them up by using them to make other meals – use ham to make split pea soup; or turn mashed potatoes into dumplings. You can use turkey to make comforting homemade turkey-and-noodle soup or turkey potpies. For more clever leftover recipes, visit cdkitchen.com.
Send Goodies with Guests
What better way to handle leftovers than to give them to your guests? Divide and conquer your extra food by sending some home with friends and family in reusable containers.
Compost the Rest
Home composting can significantly reduce the amount of material you put out on trash day. By composting food scraps and food-soiled paper you may even be able to reduce your trash can size or reduce the frequency of trash pick-ups. Visit www.lanecounty.org/compost for more information about the benefits of home composting and learn how to get started.
Need extra dishes for your party?
Borrow from friends and neighbors or Lane County Waste Management Division can loan you a Waste Free Picnic set (inspired by Master Recyclers). Visit www.lanecounty.org/eventrecycling to learn more or contact Kelly Bell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-682-2059 to make a reservation.
WasteWise Lane County
WasteWise Lane County offers education, tools and resources that residents, schools, and businesses can use to reduce waste, conserve resources and live more sustainably. To find out what can be reused or recycled, visit www.lanecountyor.gov/garbageguru. Be sure to sign up for waste prevention and recycling e-news and alerts and “like” us on Facebook!